Surah Ikhlas: The Sublime Monotheism

 

Introduction

According to Muhammad Abdel Haleem, in his recent translation of the Quran published by the Oxford University:

This sura is unusual in having as its title a term not mentioned in the body of the sura. Ikhlas conveys the meaning of sincerity in one’s religion and total dedication to the One true God. Be- cause of the importance of this theme in Islam, the Prophet said that this sura, despite its brevity, was equal to one—third of the Qur’an.

“Christianity,” according to a Christian theologian, Philip Cary, who is a philosophy professor at Eastern University with a concentration on Augustine of Hippo and received his Ph.D. from Yale Divinity School, “is an Abrahamic faith, of obsession with the person of Jesus of Nazareth.”

It is like Sunni Muslims can appreciate that Shiite Islam is an Islamic understanding of obsession with the persons of Hazrat Ali and Hazrat Imam Hussain.  If we can over come our obsessions, the two billion Christians and 1.6 billion Muslims can be one under the teachings of this surah, and obsess only over the Transcendent God of the Abrahamic faiths, who is Lord of Mercy and is beyond time, space and matter and cannot be encapsulated in the person of Jesus of Nazareth or any other human being.

According to Seyyed Hossein Nasr and colleagues in their recent commentary of the Quran, in introduction to Surah Ikhlas:

According to many early authorities, the Prophet said that this surah is ‘equivalent to one-third of the whole Quran’ (Al, IK, Q, R, Ts), which is understood by some to mean that the message regarding the Oneness of God is one-third of the Quran’s message. It has been reported on the authority of the Prophet’s wife ‘A’ishah that the Prophet would recite al-Ikhlas and the two immediately following it, al-Falaq and al-Nas, together while breathing into his palms, and then rub them over himself every night. The three together are thus understood to provide protection.

بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

112:1. Say: He, God is One,

 قُلْ هُوَ اللَّـهُ أَحَدٌ

112:2. God the eternal.

 اللَّـهُ الصَّمَدُ

112:3. He begets not nor was He begotten.

 لَمْ يَلِدْ وَلَمْ يُولَدْ

112:4. No one is comparable to Him.

 وَلَمْ يَكُن لَّهُ كُفُوًا أَحَدٌ

Commentary

112:1

“Say: He, God is One,”

For the Trinitarian Christian readers, Allah is God the Father in your tradition, so He is One and is not Triune. The Jewish understanding of God is no different from that of Islam: William Lane Craig’s Confession: ‘If we Examine Trinity, through the lens of the Old Testament, It is not Believable!’

112:2

“God the eternal.”

According to Seyyed Hossein Nasr and colleagues in their recent commentary:

Eternally Sufficient unto Himself translates the Divine  Name al-Samad, which occurs in the Quran only this once and is applied only to God. Its lexical, nontheological meaning indicates something solid and impenetrable or simply “not hollow” (AH, Q, R, T). In this regard, some take al-Samad to indicate something that is beyond all comprehension (My). Theologically al-Samad is interpreted by some as an allusion to the Primary or Initial Cause of all things, an eternally self—sufficient independent Being Who continues to exist after His creation has ceased to exist, “the One Who has always been and will always be” (Ts). According to al-Zamakhshari, in this context, ‘Al-Samad is a verb taking the meaning of the passive participle, the One to Whom one betakes oneself (man sumida ilayhi) when one seeks Him (idha qasadahu). And He is the Master Who is Sought (al-sayyid al-masmud) in [all] needs.’

112:3

“He begets not nor was He begotten.”

Suggested reading for this verse:

How Islam has Influenced Christian understanding of God

God of Islam: God of Nature and the Creator of our Universe

Third Council of Constantinople (680-681): Does Jesus has one nature / operation or two?

Is Jesus a Man, a God or a Hybrid, Just an Academic Pursuit?

Two natures of Jesus: another Christian mystery!

Refuting William Lane Craig’s: ‘The Birth of God’‏

Understanding the Nature of Jesus is Always a Heresy

112:4

“No one is comparable to Him.”

If we read the commentary of Surah Al Fatihah: The Opening, along with what has been linked above then it becomes obvious that ‘No one is comparable to Him.’

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